Advocates for Adolescent Mothers celebrates our first college graduates, shares updates about recent events and accomplishments, and provides information about upcoming events and volunteer opportunities. Check out the July Edition of the AFAM Archive!

The Archive                                               July 2015


I am probably more excited than I have ever been to share this edition of Advocates for Adolescent Mothers  Archive with you. There have been multiple positive developments within our organization since our last email including the commencement activities of our first college graduates!

Read on to get all of the details about this wonderful story, updates on our progress, and upcoming events and opportunities! 


Lillian S. Harris
Founder and President

Advocacy VS Stigmatism 2015

What Are You Bringing To The Table?

This year we were invited by the Donor's Forum to host a roundtable discussion as part of the Chicago Charitable Trust's "On The Table Initiative".

We invited  professionals from multiple disciplines, and students to join us for, "Advocacy VS Stigmatism", a candid discussion about the challenges of advocating for stigmatized populations and exploring empowering solutions to addressing those challenges. We discussed the misconceptions and challenges of advocating for stigmatized populations such as individuals who are homeless, teen and young parents, people with mental health disorders, rape and domestic violence survivors, and wards of the state.

We hosted "Advocacy VS Stigmatism" at Roosevelt University. Attendees had stakes in issues including DV, sexual assault, mental health & teen pregnancy. The diversity among participants allowed us to engage in multidimensional advocacy.


We were grateful to have two Chicago police sergeants join us, as well as representatives from New Moms, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and a Roosevelt University student.


An important take away was the necessity of recognizing apathy among ground level advocates. Participants requested to make our roundtable an ongoing/recurring event.


It's not too late for you to join this discussion. Tweet about common misconceptions regarding stigmatized populations, challenges in advocating for them, your victories, and empowering solutions using hashtag #AdvocacyVsStigmatism. We look forward to engaging with you on twitter!



Advocacy VS Stigmatism 2015
Advocacy VS Stigmatism 2015
Advocacy VS Stigmatism 2015
Advocacy VS Stigmatism 2015

Advocacy VS Stigmatism 2015
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New Website!

Advocates for Adolescent Mothers website was published almost 10 years ago in 2006. I published the website with no background or experience in web design/development. We had received some compliments on the website, but it was clear that our website had become outdated and had limited interactivity.

Last fall, Paramount Staffing and re:think collaborated to offer Advocates for Adolescent Mothers the gift of a new website. AFAM's website has lots of content, and with me returning to school, the process of creating our new website was long and arduous. The staff at re:think were professional and pleasant. They did an outstanding job of bringing my vision to life on Advocates for Adolescent Mothers new website.

With sincere and heartfelt gratitude, we extend our deepest thanks to Paramount Staffing and re:think. I highly recommend re:think for your website design and inbound marketing needs!

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rethink logo

Check out our new website and let us know what you think!
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AFAM Selected As The Charity Partner For The Blacklight Run!

Advocates for Adolescent Mothers has been selected as the charity partner for Blacklight Run Chicago!

The Blacklight Run is the largest Blacklight glow powder run in the world!


Blacklight Run is a unique night 5K fun run focused less on speed an more on UV Neon Glowing fun with family and friends. Glowing participants come from all different ages, shapes, sizes, and speeds; every participant will get Glowed and will have the time of their life!


We are seeking volunteers to represent Chicago and help us deliver a memorable event.

Volunteers will have the opportunity to be involved with the event in multiple ways. 


Volunteers are needed for packet pick up on Friday, August 7th, to cover 2 shifts, 11 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. We will also need volunteers at the event on Saturday, August 8th from the hours of 4 p.m. - 11:30 p.m. The Blacklight Run will take place at Toyota Park in Bridgeview. 


We are counting on our volunteers to help us provide an excellent experience to participants registered for the Blacklight Run Chicago and have fun while doing it!


Volunteers will be provided snacks and complimentary parking.


If you are interested in volunteering for packet pick up, please email us indicating your interest.


If you are interested in volunteering on the day of the event at the Blacklight Run, please register  here.

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Battle of Chicago Baseball Game
Chicago Police 
Chicago Fire

On Wednesday, July 29th, Chicago's Bravest will take on Chicago's Finest at US Cellular Field, the home of the Chicago White Sox! 

Advocates for Adolescent Mothers invites you to be part of the excitement!

Purchase tickets in advance for only $5!!!

Gate 5 Opens at 5:30 p.m. | Game Starts at 7:00 p.m.

This game honors fallen police officers and firefighters, while also raising money for charity.

Sorry, there are NO REFUNDS!

See you there!

C lick here for tickets.

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Women Rock Chicago

We are adding a new physical challenge to our portfolio of AFAM Athletics events! We typically coordinate teams for the Shamrock Shuffle and Bike the Drive. With those events completed this year, we are coordinating a team for Women Rock Chicago.

Women Rock Chicago is a distant run that allows participants the option to choose their run distance: Runners may elect to run 2.5k (1.5 miles), 5k (3 miles), 10k (6 miles), or half marathon (13 miles). Finishers receive a medal and champagne at the finisher's party. Another feature of the Women Rock event is the great gear offered to participants.

Are you interested in joining our team?  Email us for additional details!

Recognizing AFAM's First College Graduates!

In 2011, we launched the Educational Empowerment Grant Initiative to provide support to teen moms entering college. When we incorporated in 2009, we did so with the goal of offering scholarships to teen moms entering college. As a young grassroots organization, we didn't have the capacity to offer scholarships, so we decided to offer a grant. We learned quite a bit along the way, and also changed the name to the Educational Empowerment Program.

The Educational Empowerment Program is an asset-based, antipoverty program designed to prevent child abuse and increase the number of young mothers who graduate from college, by educating them about child development, and addressing specific barriers that often prevent college completion.


Participants of the Educational Empowerment Program are required to maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher. AFAM provides mentoring, informational workshops, and financial support in the amount of $500 each academic year to young moms in the program. Participants establish long and short term goals each year. Workshops focus on leadership, study skills, personal development, critical thinking, life skills, and parenting. Participants also enjoy social events/activities and are offered opportunities to volunteer in the community.


Since 2011, we have delivered more than 40 hours of instruction and awarded approximately $3,000 to participants of the Educational Empowerment Program.


Within a 30 day period between May and June, two of our program participants graduated with bachelor's degrees.



Mara Martinez
BA, Communication and Media
DePaul University
2.3 GPA

Mara learned about the Educational Empowerment Program as a guest of one of AFAM's events in 2013. I have found Mara to be a sincere, caring, and persistent young woman.

Mara's persistence was evident early on when she encountered multiple challenges in the submission of her application and supplemental materials to the program.
I remained impressed with Mara's persistence especially as she repeated a particular class. While temporarily disheartened, Mara refused to be defeated by this course and earned a "C".

Mara received an impressive recommendation from a Chicago alderman. She was also recognized by the Mikva Challenge as "Alum of the Month" in March 2015.

Mara's son has been her main motivation throughout her journey.

Mara found the financial support of the program helpful. She also appreciated the life skills and parenting education provided through the program. Mara plans to remain involved with AFAM by volunteering at future workshops and assisting with grants.

Mara is looking to begin her career by securing a position in communications/mass media preferably in the political arena. [If you have any information that could help Mara accomplish this goal, please let us know and we will be sure to share the information with her.]

Mara's Message to the 
Donor's of the Educational Empowerment Program

" Because of you I was able to continue my education. This program showed me that I wasn't the only one who was in college with a child because it's never talked about."
Charity Benefield
BS, Psychology
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
2.78 GPA

Charity was selected to participate in the Educational Empowerment Program upon graduating from high school, at the age of 17. Charity was one of the first program participants and commuted from Urbana-Champaign to participate in each  of our workshops.

One of the most memorable quotes from her application essay was, 
"With [my baby] in my left arm, I take notes with my right. As I study for my AP Biology class, you might hear me singing nursery rhymes with a theme of glycolysis: 'The first stage in cellular respiration isn't it sweet? It breaks down glucose to give you ATP!'"

Charity received glowing recommendations from her school counselor and AP Calculus teacher.

I have been very impressed with Charity's level of commitment, self-reflection, and diligence throughout the time of her involvement in the program.

Charity feels that the Educational Empowerment Program assisted her with the skills and mentorship she needed to successfully navigate college as a student parent.

Charity has secured a job with a nonprofit organization in Urbana. She plans to work for a year before applying to graduate school to earn a Master's in Social Work. It his her goal to become a licensed clinical social worker, and establish her own counseling practice.

Charity's Message to the Donor's of the Educational Empowerment Program

"Thank you so much for your investment in this program. You have helped in my success as a student parent and graduate."


























































We are very grateful to the donors who have sponsored the Educational Empowerment Program over the past 4 years. There are some donors who made a long-term investment in this program, donating every year for the past 4 years. Contributions from private donors have been essential to the delivery of the Educational Empowerment Program.


The success of our first two college graduates proves that our Educational Empowerment Program works. It is our goal to assist a larger number of teen and young mothers to earn a college degree. Please donate to help us accomplish this goal. 


We are also accepting applications to our Educational Empowerment Program. We have included the option to nominate a teen or young mom for this program as well. The application and nomination form are available at our website.


AFAM Marketplace

There are many ways to support Advocates for Adolescent Mothers! Check out these ongoing easy and convenient ways to support our antipoverty mission!

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Your Amazon purchase can support AFAM!
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Get paid for surveys, Op4G donates to AFAM! 

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Use the GoodSearch engine!
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Designate AFAM as the beneficiary of your real estate transaction!

Oh, and in case you were wondering...

In the last edition of
The Archive, I announced that I had returned to school to earn an MBA with a concentration in Real Estate Development. I completed the spring semester earning "A's" in both my classes, which were Real Estate Finance & Investments and Public/Private Development. I am currently completing the construction management course offered by Turner Construction Company. 
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Thank you for your continued readership of AFAM's email newsletter, 
The Archive
As always, I welcome your feedback. Have a great day and I hope to see you soon! :)


Advocates for Adolescent Mothers is internationally recognized as the center of the antipoverty movement responsible for the alleviation of poverty and establishment of prosperity among families headed by young parents.


Advocates for Adolescent Mothers is committed to empowering young parents by providing them the tools, resources, and support needed to break the cycle of poverty, establish prosperity, and prevent child abuse.